Open Letter To my Daughter on your 1st Birthday
My Dearest Sidney Grace,
(Open letter from a Struggling Artist)
When this post comes up in my Facebook memories when you are an adult I sincerely hope that I will be here to share it with you.
Please know that you don’t need anybody’s approval in life. Nobody except one person. And one person alone. That one person is you yourself. You are not here to please people, be liked by people. What other people think of you is none of your business but more importantly, it’s completely insignificant to the happiness and successes of your life. You will hear stories about what people think of you, use the negative ones as blocks to stand on in building yourself up. The people who are talking about you are not “in it” on your journey and have no idea what you are busy with. Your Facebook profile is yours. If you want to baby spam, do it. If you want to use it as your personal album to document life, do it. The people that get pissed off or don’t like it will unfriend you and those are the friends (or family) that you don’t want anyway. If you don’t get one like on a post it doesn’t mean anything. Life is not a popularity contest. Life is not a contest. Period. You never measure yourself by somebody else’s ruler, because you will always fall short. You measure yourself against yourself. If you want to compete, compete with yourself. That way you become better than the one you were yesterday. Because we constantly better ourselves. That is what Swanepoels do. If you don’t want to do that, don’t.
These pictures display a better view of what actually happened in the theatre on the chaotic morning that you were born. My gut feeling was that only one of us were coming out of this alive and I had no idea who. There was a medical TV series called Grey’s Anatomy. I loved it and watched it a hundred times, I knew the dialogue. I really thought that those dramatic scenes never happened in real life until the day you were born. I will share these special theatre details with you one day.
You were born within 15 minutes from arrival at the hospital and I don’t think we even signed admission or any papers that agreed to risk and possible death to release the doctors from liability. I certainly didn’t sign anything. I believe I had the best gynecologist in the world, yes, the world.
It was cold, 13 degrees celsius in Joburg. 03:08 in the morning.
In the manic rush of getting you out (because you had congenital pneumonia contracted from some bacteria in my amniotic fluid) there was a complication with my spinal block procedure. My spinal fluid and fluid surrounding my brain started leaking. I suffered my 4th brain injury to date. We discovered this when you were 7 weeks old. From experience, I knew that I am responsible for my own recovery and happiness in life and I don’t accept pity.
READ MORE: World Prematurity Day, Purple for Preemies
You get up, you face the front and you move it girl, most importantly you make it fun, so you WANT to move forward. My speech was impaired so I could hardly communicate or even feed you and hold you without experiencing excruciating pain. I drank brandy and coke to relieve my symptoms and cherished my time with you. I honestly believed that you would be growing up without a mother.
When I was in the midst of this experience I wanted to leave you with as many life lessons as possible. My aspirations were to build a little business for you. I’m not afraid of dying. I’ve lived a full and happy life at this tender age. I’ve travelled extensively, worked since I was 15, had some truly breathtaking experiences. My father gave me all the best opportunities in life and got me into the property market at the age of 20. He started the property lesson with a small flat in Parklands, Western Cape, South Africa. He taught me how to work for fun. Maybe that is what he thought would have helped him as a young man? Parents don’t have all the answers. They just try their best to do all that they possibly can for their children whom they love more than life itself.
If you do something (anything) you love, you will never work a day in your life, not one day, I promise.
I was desperately trying to give you some tools and lessons to teach you how you can work your arse off whilst not having to work day in your life and I was in a huge hurry as my time was running out quickly.
I started posting all sorts of nonsense on social media not even knowing what blogging really meant. I am a creative. I am a marketing artist. It’s a talent, it’s not something that was part of the syllabus in my marketing studies. I am a digital sales artist. There was no social media or computer studies in my University qualification either. With a marketing qualification behind my name, but no idea how to do this I taught myself, while you were a newborn baby. I am nothing special, just an artist. Most days it still feels like I have no idea a what I am doing. There is a name for us in society, they call us Struggling Artists. I am just an author at heart, I can write for days.
There is this relatively new thing in Marketing, worldwide. It’s called Influencer Marketing. It’s the most effective way for brands to build brand awareness and market their products, since people listen to other people’s experiences with products more than they listen to what the manufacturers themselves promise. It’s the way forward for all marketing media. I think that my dad may have believed that the way forward for my generation was passive income in property? Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. I don’t know if I’m right on this one, but I’m told by the experts that this is the way.
My short-term goal was to set you up as an Influencer, if not you then me and later on you through me. Some part of my aspiration is to pass on the lesson from my dad to teach you how to work for fun and still achieve what you want for yourself. This is a psychological teaching that starts in formative years. Your dad and I will teach you these lessons through your training for sports, your efforts in your school work, your efforts in your friendships and family relationships and teach and guide you through your successes and failures. You will inevitably have jobs in your life that are not so much fun. Move on. I’ve had four jobs where I was hardly worth anything to my employer. My other jobs I was worth much more than my salary. In my most unhappy jobs, I was overpaid and underworked. In my happiest jobs, I was overworked and underpaid, by my own doing and market related salaries. You can move on to another job for less money because the true value lies in your happiness and lifestyle, not the monetary quality. If you chase cars and money, believing that your next job must be a step up, you will continue to search for something that does not exist in life. A mystery destination that is in fact not there. Do not fall into the societal trap of “one day when we can afford a bigger house” or “one day when I have children I will finally be happy” or “one day when my husband finally listens and starts helping around the house” or “one day this or that”. One day never comes if you live for one day. Live for NOW. If it’s not the way you want it now, then simply change it. You do not blame your circumstances, you are not a result of what happened to you in life. If your husband is a lazy or grumpy bastard, move on girl. Better things await, you deserve only the best. The best.
I am your legal guardian. Your dad and I. It hasn’t been easy. We are not celebrities, we don’t want to be and we never will be. We are real people but we are also not stupid. Whilst we are biased and believe that you are the most beautiful little poppet in the world we know that you are not the child of a celebrity and that you have no exceptional beauty like the international baby models or even better, an exceptional feature like one green eye and one blue eye. So, it takes some more hard work in using my creative talent and our combined talents to make an Influencer out of you. People pay Influencers to market their products, some exchange their products for your service. The goal was to send out the first Invoice by month end September 2017. We achieved this before your first birthday, and mommy survived. First and foremost, this exercise was to help me recover. I recovered in record time and my speech is a hundred percent today. I also pride myself in the fact that English is not my first language.
Today you are an Influencer my girl, you’re not big stuff, but people approach you through me. We have a little business called Marketing Creative Online, currently trading as Poppet Patch. I make the decisions on your behalf, in my legal capacity and your dad is here to protect you too. We act in your best interest, we make sure that you don’t work, you must be little for as long as possible and your job is to have fun and play. We launched this little business in April and in the space of four months we have gained a following of 20k+ with a fluctuating weekly reach of 105k people.
My job is to love you, to keep you grounded. We are all making mistakes and trying our best. I will bring you down to earth very, very hard if I need to. We were all created equally on earth, with talents as unique as DNA. It is up to us to use them. We are not better than other people, our ideas are not the greatest, but any idea is better than no idea. We strive to better than ourselves.
If it turns out that your aspiration is to be a gardener, social worker or teacher, we will develop those values and true genius in you. You lead the way by showing us where your value system and interests lie. It is our duty to develop your passion. I still somehow believe that you will be equipped to go after whatever it is that you really, really want for yourself. I see so much of myself in you. You are highly demanding in wanting things your way in the most contradicting style, you are compassionate and generous in your struggles to compromise. Your tenacity is almost tangible. I see my dad in you too. The secret to success is creating your own happiness and manifesting your own abundance. Happiness and abundance does not lie in money, I promise you that, but it’s more comfortable for me to cry in the Tiguan than on a bicycle. If you practice love and gratitude above all else, your abundance will grow and keep surprising you.
You are my greatest teacher and I am forever grateful for you. I strive to be present for you, but I don’t always get it right, please forgive me for my weaknesses. I have my insecurities. I’m often thinking that I’m not the right kind of mother to you, that you deserve someone better, someone who can spend the whole day playing with you on the carpet, because those are the only things that actually really matter in life. Your dad is such a huge support, but it’s hard for him too sometimes. Once he told me that he thinks you might be better off if I had a job where I had to drop you off at daycare at 7AM and I only got home at 7PM because then I wouldn’t be bringing my work home. Maybe he’s right? I don’t work though, I’m just having fun. I often think that your dad deserves a better wife, someone who will go on walks with him more often or just stare at the moon a little longer. We are all different and I am so grateful for your dad and your nanny, they are your good cops. I am unfortunately your bad cop. The responsibility scares me.
Today I am going for the sinus operation that I have been putting off for so long. Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty, a complete physiological reconstruction of my nose. Four hours in theatre. The same theatre where we met this time last year. This time round I will be signing on all the dotted lines. There is no guarantee that I will see you again. But, if I was just walking to the shop to buy your yogurt, there wouldn’t be any guarantee either. Life is short. But please remember, that life can also be very long for some. Just love those people. Please. We are all different. Which makes us all the same.
I love you more than you will ever know. Thank you for choosing me to be your mother. It is my greatest privilege and honour.
Happy Birthday my Poppet, I am so proud of you.
With Love and Gratitude,
P.S There is enough yogurt in the fridge for you for at least another two weeks. And there’s more in the fridge that is supposed to go into your party packs for your Birthday Party, steal some from your friends if you need to;) If I don’t see you here again, enjoy your Birthday Party my angel and keep rocking this Poppet Patch business like only you can!
READ MORE: Kids Birthday Parties and Party Pack Ideas
*This is not a sponsored Blog Post
*English is not the First Language of the author